tv Peace Corps Director on Organizations Mission and Future CSPAN December 24, 2018 3:59pm-4:57pm EST
announced yesterday that deputy defense secretary patrick shanahan will step in in january as acting different secretary, replacing current defense secretary james mattis. mr. shanahan previously worked at boeing, focusing on supply-chain programs. he has a degree in mechanical engineering from the massachusetts institute of technology, and is from aberdeen, washington. next, the peace corps director on the volunteer organization's mission and operations. she spoke at the center for strategic and international studies to draw attention to the peace corps' relevancy and the work of the volunteers serving abroad in a host country. >> good afternoon. welcome to the center for strategic and international studies, and welcome to us hosting an important dialogue today on the future of the
united states peace corps. as many of you know in this room, hundreds of thousands of americans have served as these core volunteers over the last dish as peace corps volunteers over the last six decades. they have changed lives, their they've been transformed themselves. our return peace corps volunteers come back better americans. they have a global perspective that can only really be gained after serving for two years in a community that isn't their own. at least not at the start. i see peace corps as both a service and development corporation. a soft tool for our foreign policy tool box and citizen diplomacy at its best. here at c.s.i.s. my job is i'm director of our global food security work. that's included over the last few years research and analysis on how peace corps has been
implementing the u.s. global food strategy. not a lot of people know peace corps is one of 11 u.s. agencies engaged in something called feed the future which is the u.s. global and food security initiative. in the last few years i've had the privilege of meeting with peace corps volunteers in tanzania, guatemala, senegal, ghana, and they're working at the community level to improve global food security, improving crop production, teaching better nutrition practices, strengthening government extension services. what i liked, what i learned and that i liked is that volunteers aren't just doing this in the ag sector but peace corps is engaging volunteers across its sectors to reduce hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. whether a volunteer is building a school community garden or teaching climate smart agriculture practices, i can tell you this.
their experience shapes them for the rest of their lives. i should know because i was a peace corps volunteer twice actually. when i joined peace corps it was right out of college. i was altruistic and adventurous. to be honest, i didn't really understand the professional benefits peace corps would give me later in my life. it sparked in me a passion for international development and it essentially charted my career path moving forward. at the time i just wanted to live in another country and do something meaningful and fun. in bulgaria where i served as a high school english teacher i founded a young woman's leadership camp called girls leading our world or camp g.l.o.w. peace corps is no longer in bulgaria but that leadership academy still exists today and is now called the g.l.o.w. association, a female led bulgarian organization run by alumni who still continue to empower and educate young
women. in jamaica several years later i served as the first peace corps response volunteer, called crisis corps in those days. jamaica, i served directly with disadvantaged youth. i worked with a small local n.g.o. on grant writing, strategic planning, communications, and it was in jamaica after my service with peace corps, which is where i got my first job with u.s. aid which really pointed me toward the career path i'm on today. so looking back when i first was a peace corps volunteer, fast forward a few decades, the peace corps director when i was a volunteer in bulgaria is now not only my c.s.i.s. colleague but happens to work in the office adjacent to mine. it is an honor for me to introduce you all to him. his name is mark schneider sitting here in the front row. he is currently the senior adviser to the c.s.i.s. americas program and the
c.s.i.s. human rights initiative. in this role he helps to remind us of the importance that good governance plays and how critical that is to the progress of development and u.s. investments in development. his experience includes working as, of course, the director of the peace corps from 1999 to 2001. but he has had a long and impressive career in senior leadership positions with the international crisis group, usaid and the world health organization to name a few. his interest in latin america and the u.s. leadership and u.s. leadership was fostered when he first worked as a staff member for ted kennedy on capitol hill. i would say his career began when he was a peace corps volunteer. mark, over to you. [applause]
mr. schneider: obviously i want to thank kimberly for that kind introduction. as she mentioned when she served in bulgaria i visited her country as peace corps director and her program was exceptional. it was partly because her director was a remarkable woman who believed that women's empowerment was fundamental to development and democracy. and who inspired countless others throughout her life. i should also note that just looking around the audience we have another former director of the peace corps, aaron illiams. and we have many former and current staff from the peace corps and usaid and former ambassadors as well. to some degree that is what the peace corps has done. it has given a start to many of
us who wanted to do something, contribute to u.s. foreign policy in a fundamentally different way, to contribute on the ground to the way the ople see the united states and contribute tho their development at the same time. i want to note this event today on the future of the peace corps is taking place appropriately on the 70th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights. the core value is linked to the right of every human being to achieve his or her full potential regardless of race, religion, or nationality. volunteers convey those values during their service and hopefully during the rest of their lives as well. when president kennedy signed the executive order in 1961 that formally established the peace corps, he said, and i quote, "we have in this country an immense reservoir of men and
women anxious to sacrifice their energies and time and toil. to the cause of world peace and human progress. jody olsen was one of those who answered serving first as a volunteer in tunisia from 1966 to 1968, the same years my wife and i served -- my wife is right here -- in el salvador as a peace corps volunteer. and jody never stopped, spanning the next five decades. she's done it all. peace corps country director in togo, regional director for africa and the middle east. chief of staff to then director paul cloverdale. deputy director and then acting director and now director. she is the most prepared director that the peace corps has ever had. going back to the founder and the first director.
prior to returning to the peace corps in 2018, dr. olsen was visiting professor at the university of maryland, baltimore school of social work and director of the university center for global education. she also oversaw health research projects while teaching courses on international social work. even while she was not a peace corps official, those rare years, i can attest she was always available to all peace corps directors as a mentor and adviser and support and a source of ideas. jody? [applause] ms. olsen: what a pleasure to be here. thank you. thank you, mark.
thank you, kimberly. i appreciate that very kind introduction. mark, thank you. this all started over a lunch when we had this conversation that is now -- has now become this event. i want to also thank you for all that you've done for peace corps over the years. i hadn't realized we were all volunteers at the same time. different parts of the world but it shaped us those same ways. as one peace corps director to another, thank you for your legacy of leadership. thanks for your service. to aaron, thank you very, very much. like c.s.i.s., we at the peace corps also aspire to help chart a course toward a better world. we're fwrateful to this incredible -- grateful to this incredible organization for providing such a far reaching forum for this kind of thoughtful discussion. the topic is the future of peace corps. it's ever present in my mind, obviously, as the 20th director
and as a return peace corps volunteer who served back in the agency's early years. i vividly remember standing in a classroom, my third day in country in front of 40, 13-year-old boys, as a volunteer in tunisia. i was 22 years old, nervous beyond belief, had no idea what my first words would be. i remember looking at them all hinking and going oh, my heavens. there's a door. i could walk out that door and be done. i knew my parents wouldn't be very happy if i showed up back home a couple months later nor would my husband who was happy having his first day as a peace corps volunteer. so i stepped forward, held my breath, and introduced myself n english.
then i asked the students to introduce themselves. that day's lesson launched my two year volunteer service. two years that shaped my life and my career more than i could have dreamed or hoped for. at that time, however, i was most worried about my students' exams. i immersed myself in a way of fe that was utterly unlike the life i had back in salt lake city, utah. i learned how to be present. how to listen, really, and truly, listen. my success as a volunteer absolutely depended on that. how to honor, respect, and learn from people different from me in action shuns, thinking, and even being. i discovered that despite differences in languages, culture, and background there was so much more that connected us. i learned what it meant to
serve my country and how it felt to be part of something far, far greater than myself. i'm here today because peace corps changed my life. and because i believe passionately that peace corps tin to change lives for many more years to come. since 1961 almost 250,000 peace corps volunteers have served in 141 countries around the world. helping communities tackle the most pressing issues of our time from environmental protection to public health to food security to creating opportunity for the world's next generation of leaders. as we speak peace corps volunteers are teaching girls code, leading hiv prevention programs in ukraine, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs in peru.
fighting malaria in uganda and helping farmers in nepal feed their families and their communities as kimberly had noted. at the time of its creation peace corps presented a model for overseas service and global engagement that was so unprecedented that many said it will never work. it can't be done. i actually read some of the letters from the archives of the hill who said it cannot be done. and scarlett johansson shriver writing back saying -- and sarge shriver writing back saying, yes it can and we will do it. the volunteers can serve the country in the cause of peace by living and working in other countries and it struck a chord. as i think many of you know it was october 14, 2:00 in the morning on the steps of the student union of the university of michigan that then senator kennedy, tired, just wanting to go to bed, found out that there
were at least 5,000 students and he better say something. at 2:00 in the morning he spoke for about two minutes. in those two minutes he introduced the idea of peace corps. little did he know that the next morning signatures began. in the next three days there were over 10,000 signatures from university of michigan students saying, peace corps, you must honor that commitment. that was the power of the idea of this program. it inspired a generation to ask what they could do for the world. it's a call to service that inspires us still. 57 years after our founding, our work continues through the service of about 7,000 volunteers in more than 60 countries. as community health promoters, english, and math teachers, business development advisers, environmental and agriculture specialists and youth
development mentors, our volunteers collaborate with their communities to create sustainable change. ile much has changed since peace corps' founding our mission to promote world peace and friendship has, nor have our three goals toward that mission changed. as we look ahead to peace corps' future there is so much that is still unwritten. the year we have, we have an opportunity to celebrate not only the remarkable things which peace corps volunteers are doing in the field but also recognize and appreciate the extraordinary efforts being led and accomplished by return volunteers around the world and here in the united states, here in washington, and here in the room. we have not always stepped back to see and applaud the contributions being made by return volunteers. these are men and women who have embraced totally the
concept of peace corps as a call to a life long service. these are return volunteers who have skillfully distilled the values, beliefs, and talents and abilities gained through their peace corps service and taken them to organizations, communities, and people over and over again since they left their host country. there are so many stories yet to be told, so many stories yet to be lived. my year has brought me repeatedly back to one word or oncept -- connections. freshly arrived volunteers establishing connections with their community and their counterparts. volunteers sharing their rich experience with family and friends in the united states through their social media connections and return volunteers continuing to serve and contribute to their country
and community of service through technological connections. i'm excited to better highlight these remarkable return peace corps efforts, gathering the stories, quantifying the impact, skillfully describing and sharing with the larger u.s. population. demonstrating that peace corps is a wise and worth while investment of the u.s. taxpayer dollars and a significant return on that investment. i believe that we need to maximize the use of technology to enhance connections between volunteers and communities so that they can serve as the link for ongoing connection and service long after the volunteer has returned home wherever across the universities, united states, that home might be. we're committed to sustaining those connections.
i believe increased connections facilitated by technology can enable us to explore new service models, allowing for peace corps to be viewed as a highly relevant, vital, and agile institution as we begin to position ourselves for a sixth decade of service to the united states and to the world. we do not know what demanges the world we may see in the next few years, but i do know this. in a world that can seem both interconnected and impossibly divided, the face-to-face, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder work of peace corps is who we are and must, must continue to be. the work of our volunteers, building capacity, cultivating relationships, and creating the conditions for peace matters now more than ever. i envision a peace corps that remains the world's preeminent
volunteer agency, offering motivated americans the opportunity to serve their country. i envision a peace corps that sends volunteers to interested countries where they are needed most where they can achieve the greatest impact and where they deliver the best return on investment for american taxpayers. i envision a peace corps that recruits america's best, brightest, and most resilient volunteers to carry on our country's legacy of service. i envision a peace corps that continues to be present in some of the most hard-to-reach orners of our world. a peace corps that listens, really and truly listens to the communities that it serves. a peace corps that honors, respects, and learns from people from all aspects of our humanity. a peace corps that inspires tomorrow's generation to ask not what the world can do for them but what they can do for
the world. thank you all. [applause] mr. schneider: for those in the audience, you should have been given a piece of paper. if you have questions, please fill out the questions. owen in the back of the room, just raise them up and owen will collect them. but to get started, let me ask ou the question that i continue to get most often when i talk about the peace corps. why did you join the peace corps and what was your most meaningful experience in tunisia? ms. olsen: it was 1964 at the university of utah. and i was in a sorority dinner and a return peace corps volunteer stood up -- probably one of the first -- and spoke for 10 minutes about his peace corps experience. he sat down and i put my fork
down and i went, oh, i think i want to do that. there was no grand scheme. it was, oh, i think i want to do that. and a year and a half later i was a peace corps volunteer. there are so many memorable experiences as a volunteer. i'm sure any of you who were a volunteer you're going oh, wait a minute, this, or this, or this. but very memorable for me was the family that i ate with every day and we game -- i was part of a household and at a point about three months in, they decided they wanted to give me a very special tunisian dish. they were excited. they had worked a whole week on getting ready for it. and so the friday when i came they had dressed up. i had dressed up. i just knew this was going to be a wonderful time because i loved tunisian food. and so with great fanfare they brought out the dish. t was a half a cow's head with
eyes included, and ear. i just remember that moment of how's my arabic doing? not well. how's my sense of psychologically not being able to eat this and communicate that in a local arabic? and i remember thinking, do i just put my fork in or do i tell them that, no, i don't think this is going to work out? and that joy of my having the courage to say, i don't think this is going to work out and they all laughed. they went in the kitsch wen me while i fixed my own meal and brought it out and we enjoyed that experience for the rest of the time. but you're at that moment where you trust your family that you can be honest. even though it was going to disappoint them. and i only got closer to them because of that cow's head.
[laughter] mr. schneider: you know, it's 57 years since the beginning of the peace corps. there obviously have been enormous changes in the world not to mention 9/11. why are you still convinced that the peace corps remains relevant in today's world as i do? ms. olsen: the relevance of peace corps is embedded in the uniqueness of peace corps. i think how did it happen that in that legislation of september, 1961, a mission, world peace and friendship, and three goals -- technical support, sharing who you are, as an american, bringing that experience home, and sharing it here. those three goals are equal and integrated. that is what created this unique experience that we call peace corps. because what it's saying is
that in order to provide technical support of whatever that is, teaching, agriculture, health, environment, you have to establish trust, long-term trust with the community in which you work. how do you establish that trust? you establish it by sharing a cow's head. you establish it by working with that local language, taking the kids to market, eating out of the same bowl. you then become part of who they are. so that as you introduce a suggestion or an idea or a thought they go, oh, let's think about that. because i trust this person because he or she is happy to be here. through the 57 years that core element has stayed strong.
when i think of today in the communities, in the neighborhoods, in the families in which we serve, we're needing to communicate that same message. i'm not here to help. you're not here to receive. you're here to help. you're here to discover. i'm here to discover. i'm here to be part of that experience. and that changes us today as much as it changed us 57 years ago. it works and changes the community as much as it did before. we might use different words. we might be talking on the phone some of the time. but that experience has not changed and that's who we are still as human beings. mr. schneider: obviously i share that view and particularly now it is even more important i think for the world around us to continue to engage with americans and see them through the eyes of the volunteer in their community
and in their homes. now, when i was director i made a conscious decision to pursue two priorities. 1999-2000, spond, was to respond to the hiv/aids crisis by requiring that all volunteers in africa either as their primary assignment or as their secondary one, sort of after hours, would become hiv/aids educators. the second was to encourage volunteers at that time to see information technology and access to the internet as a development tool. so what are your priorities? ms. olsen: well, first, i want to pick up on your priorities because shortly after you left, president, president bush introduced the pepfar program and beginning in 2002 peace corps as an agency was invite nood that
multi-government effort that ultimately put in 40, 50, 60 billion dollars and we have een a very active part of that pepfar effort, hiv, ever since ight after you left. second, i am going to pick up on the technology because it is where our priorities are now, too. you were director when i think the internet was beginning and www we all knew it meant something but we didn't know what it meant and there was a screen but you didn't know how to get much on it. well, now as you all can envision, that social media is about how most of the communication goes. cell phones, smart phones, all those elements that connect people in ways that they were not connected before is endemic to who we are.
it is important we at peace corps work with that. i know when i came to peace corps nine months ago it was like oh, my heavens, three goals, face to face. we share, we shake hands, we hug. we eat together. that's what peace corps is. what i've come to appreciate in thinking back to your legacy, mark, that those technical components make that face to face, make those meals, with the kids, the counterparts in the schools, the counterpart with the farmer, much more relevant than ever before. before, just a quick example and it really has to do with us llectively nudging ourselves into taking advantage of the connectivityy we now have is is one of the
prodgenects ghana was developing at -- for the farm torse get the cost of cashew nuts in a craw before the middle person came to offer them a price. another one of their projects was to do apps for market women money they could move back and forth informally on their phones. now, the volunteer who was telling me about this experience that he was having, he was with a local language. he had his host family. he was front and center with his school and his counterpart but together they were able to open up technology for many more people in ghana that otherwise would have been able all connected wan that these projects that were very
important. so we have so much out there w that we can take advantage of. volunteers today come in with sort of technology on all 10 fingers. have very little idea how they do but i am sure it is wonderful. and in fact enhance their opportunities work with counterparts to expand that process and to expand that knowledge in the communities where they work i think is a very important part of peace corps for today. just to give one last quick example we had a minister of education from a country we had this n many years ago and minister of education said, please come back. great. i always love those stories. he said we want you to teach english which is an important
part of what peace corps always does. he said, ah ha. however, however, however, i want you to teach english through and with the websites, hrough the computer, with apps . because we in this country need o use our english to better do business with each other in this country. you have that double set of skills that come in right together. so, yes. teach english. but you're going to also be teaching us how to better understand our own technology. that's some of what we are today. mr. schneider: thank you. that also leads into the other question i'd like you to speak about which is are there countries and programs who can expand the number of volunteers they're receiving and where peace become a way for
corps to continue develop until the those countries? are there more countries that want the peace corps and if there are, are there more volunteers here around this country willing to join and become part of those new programs? ms. olsen: first, with the programs, that we have resources to continue the approximate number of volunteers we have now which is in the range of 7,000. in that process we also know that there are elements in the world that i toned use the word -- i tend to use the word kerfuffel. i don't know where i got that word but let's just say for things that don't go perfectly. our ability to be steady in every country around the world is not quite perfect. it is always important for us to stay strong, for us to be looking at countries where we can increase. and we're looking at two, three, or four right at this moment. greg is very much aware of a
couple of them. we're also looking at the invitations we're getting from other countries where we can be who we are. where we can provide development assistance and offer the technical skills that hese countries are asking for. >> i will say you having the resources to permit continued levels of volunteerism programming. when i became director i had a lunch with scarlett johansson -- sarge shriver and i said we're hoping to increase the number of volunteers on a number of programs maybe a couple thousand or more over the next couple years. sarge responded what are you talking about? we should not only double the size of the peace corps but get to a hundred thousand. ms. olsen: i remember that. mr. schneider: we may not be there. but the question is do we have potential volunteers out around
the country that you think we could, that are there, ready to join the peace corps? i should add, sustain the level of diversity that the peace corps has clearly done a remarkable job? when i was director we barely got to 20% in terms of volunteer diversity and now it is around 30% or 32%. ms. olsen: to 35%. mr. schneider: can we maintain the size and -- increase the size and maintain diversity? ms. olsen: yes. let me talk about our recruitment. i know several people have said to me but i don't see the ads on tv. ow do you recruit? step one, we just dropped our last formal ad. i'm going why? ads are great. no. everybody does social media these days. we're embedded now in podcasts. we're embedded in -- and i
could name other social media but i don't even know the names of most of them. this is how younger people today are connecting with this pportunity of peace corps. second, we have changed our recruitment strategy to the point that our recruiters are working more comprehensively in the departments and colleges of the universities in the areas we need resources. for example i feels at the university of tennessee of tennessee in knoxville where we had a social prep program but it was headed by a faculty member in agriculture and he really wanted ag volunteers to oin the peace corps. we worked with that college of agriculture at the university of tennessee. we are looking for volunteers in education, where they know
crick la, program design, teacher training. we are embedding ourselves further into these colleges of education so that as we get young people and they're still that they come with degrees in the fields we really need them. in addition i twoont advertise quickly the peace corps -- i want to advertise quickly the peace corps prep program. schools, many more universities are signing up for it. they agree to offer a certain set of courses, courses already on campus but they involve cross culture, they involve languages. they involve international, l hnical training and at the -- what is exciting about this program is peace corps says at these universities we believe in international. we believe in global.
we're putting our name to these set of courses that prepare so many students for this work whether or not they go into peace corps and i think that is a real beginning. on the last point of that diversity we are really proud of those numbers. we are really proud the numbers are continuing to grow and that we are reaching to the u.s. population that really represents the diversity of this country. we're staying very strongly with that. the populations at universities now are extremely diverse and it is our responsibility to bring them in to peace corps and we're strongly committed to that. >> let me ask when luke at these three goals of the peace corps, i know that you've been working on the issue of
demonstrating results. i'll let you go. ms. olsen: ok. a lot of people over the years, some of you, and me t.'s about stories. aren't stories wonderful? and that we stay relevant by telling our stories as we all know, you all know, that is, you as you work in monitoring and evaluation and work at project design, wait a minute. show me. show me. that the hill says, show me what is it. over the last few years, peace corps has taken really significant shift or not shift and better organizing framing projects so we now have very clear project designs. with those project designs what is the activity the volunteer gives. what is the input the volunteer
brings? what is the output that that volunteer shows? now, because of technology, those volunteers record that. so they get to see their own progress. and women that come to a monthly meeting about entrepreneurship. they're seeing where they fit. second, this information, these data points come into the region and into the agency and we're working with other federal agencies, particularly usaid so that they can then look at what the output is, the outcome is and the longer output and sustainability so we ve become a very strategic point in longer-term development efforts. i know when i was with the last
meeting of the president's mall area initiative group, they said you have to start with and it t data point was they who were tracking the mall area research. we need to know how many got a bed net. we need to know what they did with the bed net. we need to know. we just being present in our work in the community can be noting that. and so we're playing a more significant role and a role that other agencies are really recognizing us for. for example, i was on a panel with the millennium challenge corporation and they were talking about their stem education program in georgia. as she talked about their program, she spent i don't know how many of you were at the event but almost one-third of what she talked about were peace corps volunteers. i'm going yay. but the point of what was happening, was they would give
resources for laboratories and extra materials for the stem programs within the schools. peace corps volunteers who were t directly working in stem but they would help set up the labs and work with after school activities with the students and they were noting what they were doing. and the representative from m.c.c. said, we couldn't be measuring what we do in georgia on this project without peace georgia and i think we can be really proud collectively we have gained a real understanding of the very unique role peace corps volunteers play. mr. schneider: one of the things that has been a concern over the years and i think over the terms of different directors there's been an increase almost every four-year period. that is the question of safety nd security of volunteers. so as you think about the world
at large becoming a much more dangerous place, particularly for volunteers but people in general how are you thinking about shifting to provide greater security and greater protection for volunteerism and also recognize health needs of volunteers? bill ioned the sam farr that just became law. ms. olsen: let me start with he safety and security part. 9/11 happened. over the year two years after 9/11 i was at the agency at the time the question was oh, my heavens the world isn't safe anymore. tough moment because peace corps was being integrated into a community and we're watching barriers and ther related things that
separate americans from people in other countries. at that point we reframed our whole idea of safety and security to be integration, trust, and respect. o we, much more purposefully created training for peace corps volunteers, their host families, and their communities about how they were an integrated combination, being in those communities. that philosophy of safety and security has stayed with us through the present. that it is out of that trust and out of that respect. that, in fact, that community is there for the volunteer and the volunteer is there for the community. now, it's not just that. this is where again technology is very helpful is that we do
have systems. every volunteer has a cell phone. every volunteer knows what to do in an emergency and have very good ways to communicate with volunteers if something needs to happen very quickly. so behind this integrated strong is a fairly system for emergency preparedness and evacuation or movement or stand fast, whatever is needed, and we have good links within the countries to be a couple steps ahead. because of that we would be able to be in places that otherwise we would not be able to be there. mr. schneider: let me ask you this. we have some questions by the way. i'll jump around a little bit. over the course of your career in connection to the peace corps, what has changed the most and what has remained the same? ms. olsen: let me start with what i think has remained the
same. i have been able to visit about five different countries in the last nine months and volunteers in every one of those countries and, to me, what has remained the same, i sit and i talk with them. i meet with them individually. i meet with the host families. i meet with the counterparts. we're doing all those things that you do with peace corps volunteers. that experience is largely the same. that way they connect, that way that language, the way that , give back, absorb share, learn, that very tight, connective process of those three goals has essentially not changed. what has changed is all the technology that runs around that initial experience and so on the plus side part of what's changed is that families in the
u.s., counterparts in the u.s., your best buddies from college, are now, you know, chatting with you and your host family while you're having that experience. so the experience of peace corps is now coming home even as it's being experienced. the other part is that we have to work with volunteers to say, you don't spend a lot of your time in this part because of the importance of the connectivity with your families nd your communities. and i think volunteers are understanding by and large that it's that there is a ways you keep people back here involved. your other volunteers involved, but that has -- it's important to limit that so your experience on the ground can remain very strong. if i were to say one other change i really noticed
particularly in the last 10 years, i left nine years ago and now i'm back, that we seem to be better integrated into the discussions about international development and international exchange and the international frame work in which we all work. and i am really appreciative of how key professionals at other agencies are saying, well peace corps is playing this part and can really define what that is. i'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that we have return peace corps volunteers now in all these other agencies. that linkage has strengthened the understanding of what our role is. mr. schneider: this is a question in relation to the recruitment policy where you have the focus on computer driven internet application, the questioner says, what are u doing to recruit over 50
volunteers? some may still need the traditional app. ms. olsen: that as good question and i'm sthure's all there. i don't have a good answer at the moment. for the older volunteers and i've talked to several, they get it largely the old fashioned way, from their children. from their colleagues who have served, from word of mouth that has gone around. a woman t talking to in madison, wisconsin, who is leaving next month and it was because her daughter was a volunteer six years ago and she fell in love with peace corps and she said i finally got the rest of the kids out of the house and now i'm out of here and i'm going to do it. but there is good advice in that question. i need to go back and check. mr. schneider: one of the things, this is an interesting question, and i'll start by saying, that when i became the head of the latin american
bureau of usaid i remember the first, and aaron may well remember this, the first meeting that i had with the , it just dawned on me, how many of you are return peace corps volunteers? about 40% of the people in the hall raised their hands. and there are many ambassadors i have known that are return -- chris hill, johnny carson, and others. jim michael. and who is here by the way. and i look around, the question is i look around and see return volunteers at agencies like tate and usaid and n.g.o.'s, active in the social fields, the questioner says, but in the private sector and defense sector i don't see that many return volunteers. and is there something we can to either diversify the
experience or encourage return volunteers to go into those -- say into those sectors. ms. olsen: i think that -- let me start with the private sector of which i'm discovering there are more return volunteers than we know about, which reminds us that we need to highlight this much more because highlighting what return volunteers in the private sector are doing now will encourage many more to go into the private sector. now, anyone here in the private sector we would welcome internships for returning peace corps volunteers or starter positions that a wonderful return volunteer would take on to increase, one, the visibility and two the credibility in the private sector. we know that we can probably encourage that more but we can
highlight much better those that are already in the private sector. at peace corps on staff of our 920, 77 are veterans. i have been reaching out because i don't come from a veteran background. i feel that it is important that i really become and understand the culture that comes through the defense. more re making much visible the diversity of the staff at peace corps part of that is encouraging what veterans bring to peace corps. i hope and we can continue to brings much more
into conversations as to how return volunteers and staff can look at defense as places to go. mr. schneider: there is also a question about, again, about the private sector, which is clear when you look at international development now there are a lot more instances where there there is an effort to find ways to partner with the private sector on development issues around the world. have you thought about ways in which volunteers in their current service can partner at the same time with the private sector in the countries where they're working? ms. olsen: it is a fun answer but also a complex answer. a couple elements. one of the ways that volunteers work in the private sector in the house countries is actually through the rotary clubs. rotary around the united states, and i want to do a
special shoutout for rotary. i've fallen in love with rotary. they have partnerships all over the world. we have a memorandum of understanding with rotary that as the rotary is making its own commitment in a particular country the volunteers have an opportunity to work with that rotary and that country. that actually can be a model for how volunteers can move into some of the private sector in countries as the private sector here has private sector there. and that you're making that connection within the country, itself. another way is through our special progets assistance and our -- projects assistance and our private linkage program where we have a whole system where moneys anywhere from about $500 to maybe $5,000, it goes a little higher once in a while, that the volunteer with
the community creates a project. the peace corps staff in country say, wow. his looks like it's just meeting all the values of peace corps, it gets posted on our website and people make contributions and $100 -- 100% of those dollars go toward the project. we raise upward of a million to a million and a half a year to these very small projects all over the world. it is a very exciting way for elements of the private sector, for local businesses, rotary also funds through that for a sm but the funding volunteer that ranges into the few hundred to just a few thousand for all the obvious reasons, that we're about the people to people, we're about the behavior that goes on. >> on day three of the government shutdown, president trump this morning tweeted, i am all alone, poor me, in the
white house, waiting for the democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed border security. at some point the democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our country more money than the border wall we are all talking about. crazy. and this afternoon, house minority leader nancy pelosi and senate minority leader chuck schumer issued a joint statement saying in part, instead of bringing certainty into people's lives he is continuing the trump shutdown just to please right wing radio and tv hosts. meanwhile, different people from the same white house are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his trump hutdown. this week join "washington journal" for authors week featuring one-hour segue wments a new author each morning. on tuesday author juan williams discusses his book "what the hell do you have to lose --
trump's war on civil rights." then on wednesday author alan dershowitz talks about his book "the case against impeaching trump" and thursday "squeezed, why our families can't afford america." on friday, the book "sex matters. how modern feminism lost touch with science, love, and common sense." saturday, "the view from flyover country." and sunday, "american overdose." join us for authors week each morning this week on washington journal." this week on q & a, "the wall street journal" columnist holman jenkins talks about his work and politics inme